Two women were awarded Post-Doctoral Fellowships of 10,000 Euros each for their work in researching the roles of non-coding RNAs in immune gene regulation and effects of plant invasions on native ectotherms under a warming climate.
The remaining 12, including Nigerian, Eseoghene Umukoro who attends University of Johannesburg, received Doctoral Fellowships of 5,000 Euros. Umukoro received the award for her project which looks at the experimental and computational study of the electrochemical and photo-electrochemical oxidation of organic pollutants at carbon based-semiconductor composite electrodes while Millicent Akotam Agangiba, from Ghana, was recognised for her investigation in E-government Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities in Developing Countries.
According to Sandeep Rai, Managing Director, L’Oreal South Africa, “Our changing world has never been in greater need of women and their discoveries. With the For Women in Science programme, the L’Oréal Foundation is committed to promoting these women in science who will change the world. We are determined to fight for science and to build a more beautiful world together.”
This year, applications were received from 26 Countries, a testament to the increasing awareness of the program and the commitment to advancing women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). It comes against the backdrop of the recently launched manifesto For Women in Science, which has already been signed by numerous people across the world; a manifesto that aims to take a stand against the under-representation of women in the sciences.
For the past 18 years, the L’Oréal and UNESCO’s African Network of Scientific and Technological Institutions (ANSTI) have targeted women across Africa for their sponsored program to encourage, promote and honour women scientists globally. More than 2,500 researchers from 112 countries have been distinguished for their extraordinary discoveries and supported at key moments in their careers.
The fellow’s work and research aims to impact the lives of people around the planet by supporting ground breaking innovation in advancing entire fields of research and even opened new ones. To date, it has reportedly contributed to curing diseases, increasing food supplies, enabling sustainable development, helping ensure sustainable methods to better understand our environment and add to our knowledge of the very foundations of life.
Further details from the event, indicates that a prestigious ceremony was held in Johannesburg where the keynote address was delivered by International Laureate from the 2016 L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science International Award, Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim, Associate Scientific Director: CAPRISA and Professor of Clinical Epidemiology Columbia University. Professor Karim was chosen from the Africa and Arab States region for her remarkable contribution to the prevention and treatment of HIV and associated infections. Her award was also in recognition of how her work is greatly improving the quality of life of women in Africa.